Walking on a two-track, on state land near Sorenson Road, we came upon these Wild Turkey tracks in the sand. Wild Turkeys were nearly eliminated from their habitat by the early 1900’s. Paradoxically, hunters helped save them. In 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation was formed. It is both a hunting organization and a conservation group . Estimates then were that about 1.3 million turkeys remained in the wild in the United States. Today, the population has grown to about seven million. Hunting seasons have been established in 49 states, including Michigan. Montmorency County is not exactly teeming with the birds. But we have seen quite a few hens in fields. We’ve seen hens and their poults scratching alongside roads. The toms, with their long beards, are very infrequently seen. Steve has hunted tom turkeys for three seasons now. So far, the turkeys are winning. But it must have been a monster turkey that moved along this trail. Here is their gobble, which Steve practices using all sort of odd shaped wood and plastic small contraptions. If Benjamin Franklin had his way, the Wild Turkey would have been our national symbol. Would that mean we’d be eating eagle for Thanksgiving?
Oh yes, this fine turkey parts drawing (my name for the piece) by Michigan’s own, Glenn Wolff, was published originally in the New York Times. I was able to purchase the original “Mature Male.” It hangs at the lake house, where hopefully no dead tom’s beard will ever hang. Wolff’s prints, illustrations, and original oils capture our state and its creatures. He’s reproducing some of his pieces on T-shirts, tiles, mugs and notecards these days. Click here to learn more.